Local couple share their fight against diabetes

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GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — A Greece couple is sharing their story on their journey to resolving the disease. At first glance, you wouldn’t think David and Suzanna Frizer of Greece had type two diabetes. It took David by surprise.

“I was a little shocked, because I’ve spent all throughout high school and before high school, I was always active and I always played football,” said David Frizer.  “I was in the gym three hours a day, so it was a surprise but at the same time you stop working out like that and you start taking care of yourself. Things like that can happen.”

David says he had some of the major symptoms, especially feeling lethargic.

“Side effects, my skin wasn’t really that great. I was tired when I shouldn’t be tired. Those were the major ones,” said Frizer. 

According to the American Diabetes Association, the most common symptoms associated with diabetes are feeling very thirsty, feeling very hungry, extreme fatigue and blurry vision. Symptoms that Suzanna, a nurse at Rochester Regional Health, was experiencing. After checking her blood sugar levels, they had a high. It was a wake up call for this nurse.

“I think as a nurse, when you see that number, it’s kind of very scary. Like we admit patients and put them on insulin drips for sugar levels high,” said Suzanna Frizer. 

“I think they are the perfect couple to show the misconceptions that people have, regarding who needs surgery and what kind of surgery,” said Dr. Patricia Hughes, bariatric surgeon at Unity Hospital. 

Dr. Patricia Hughes of Unity Hospital, treated the couple through bariatric surgery before the pandemic hit to help resolve their diabetes. Suzanna had what surgeons call a sleeve procedure while her husband had to get to a certain level before he had a gastric bypass. 

“He was a lower BMI but had worse diabetes, which people wouldn’t think about. He had the bypass. The gastric bypass is a stronger metabolic procedure,” said Dr. Hughes. 

Today both have resolved their diabetes and say the shutdown helped in their recovery.

“The lockdown in a way, helped us push each other because we didn’t have anything else to do. The only thing we had to do is take care of ourselves and our kids,” said David Frizer. 

The ADA reports, there are 5,228,000 people in New York, 33.5% of the adult population, who have pre-diabetes with blood glucose levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

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